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Persevere: A Life With Cancer

In January, 2014, I wrote a post about Lisa Bonchek Adams, a women who was being publicly criticized for her choice to fight the breast cancer that was slowly killing her, rather than deny medical treatments and “slip gently” into death. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I supported Lisa’s right to fight.  Sadly, Lisa passed away in 2015 at the age of 45.  Since then, her mother and brother, Drs. Rita and Mark Bonchek, have complied a book of Lisa’s writings entitled, Persevere: A Life with Cancer
Reflections on love and loss, family and friendship, compassion and courage

I often get requests to do book reviews on my blog and I generally oblige.  However, when I read a portion of Lisa’s writing, I wanted to share her words with my readers, not out of a sense of obligation, but because they are so eloquent and moving, it would be a shame not to share.

Here is an excerpt from her book:

You Look Great; You’d Never Know

It’s true:

you’d never know.

I look great. I look healthy. I’m not gaunt or drawn or pale. I wear makeup most days, and some days I even wear boots with a heel on them.

I smile, I laugh. I take a slight jog up the front hall steps when I feel like it. I crack jokes, I roll my eyes when standing in a long line, I gossip with my friends.

I wear gloves a lot, I have to moisturize my feet and hands at least a dozen times a day. I buff my feet, I examine them for cracks and bleeding. I stick ice packs on them when they burn from the chemo. I can’t feel my fingertips, yet portions of them crack and peel and are painful and raw. I can’t hold a pen or twist off a bottle cap.

I take pills all day long. I’m swollen, I’m tired, my mind can’t stop racing.
I tell time by “on” weeks and “off” ones. Of course the doctors understand my situation. They know what this diagnosis means. Even ones that have nothing to do with cancer call to check on me.

When I go to my sons’ school some of the teachers and moms cry when they see me. “You look good,” they say. This is a compliment. Sometimes they say, “You don’t look sick at all. You’d never know.” That is shorthand for, “You don’t look like you’re dying but we know you are.”

I hear people in line to buy holiday gifts complain about the sniffly cold they have or the poor night’s sleep their child had. They might be complaining about something more serious, but still something that can be fixed. Time will heal what ails them. I am not so lucky.

I am jealous. I am jealous that this is their only medical concern. I’m not jealous of what they wear or the car they drive or the house they live in. I’m jealous of their health status.

I’m not in denial. This diagnosis is a nightmare. My life will always be full of chemo and side effects and worry and monitoring and drug refills and hospital visits. But my life will also be full of great memories, of laughter, of smiles. There will be tears. There will be pain. There will be heartache. But there will also be joy, and grace, and friendship.

I don’t know for how long. I don’t know if they will be in equal measure. They say I look good. They say, “You’d never know.” For now I know it’s true.

There will come a day when it’s not true. And they will lie. And I will know it. And someday, then, I will know the end is near. But that day is not today.

December 30, 2012

You can buy Lisa’s book here: www.lisasbook.com.

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Help! Someone I Love Has Cancer: How You Can Really Make a Difference

I would like to introduce to you Joel and Rebekah Hughes, who live in Irvine, California. Rebekah is originally from Southern Oregon and Joel is a Southern California lifer. They often jab each other as to which place is better to live. But for better or worse, So-Cal is home.

At the age of 23, Rebekah was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer.   Her oncologist said that she was the youngest patient their office had ever seen with breast cancer. She made the difficult decision to have a double mastectomy. She did seven months of chemotherapy and then three years of the hormone therapy maintenance drug, Herceptin.  When Rebekah had been cancer free for three years, she met Joel and the two were married one year later.

Just eight months after they wed,  Rebekah was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Stage 4 cancer is considered incurable. After many tests and scans, they learned that not only had Rebekah’s cancer returned, but it had metastasized (spread) to her liver, lungs, kidneys, bones, and brain. They found at least 9 tumors in her brain. One radiation oncologist that reviewed her scans said that even with treatment, she probably had 4-6 months to live. She was 26 years old.

Rebekah’s diagnosis and cancer remain a constant battle but a huge part of fighting her cancer is that they try to not let it dominate their lives. In fact, they try to live as though she does not have cancer.  They are both Christians, and their faith is a central focus of their lives.   They like to read, bargain hunt at garage sales and thrift stores, refurbish (upcycle) old furniture, decorate their house, hang out with friends and family, spend time with (Joel’s) kids, and watch Netflix in bed while eating ice cream (double fudge mouse tracks).  They also enjoy helping people who are hurting and struggling since they know that pain so well.

It is this desire to help others that inspired Joel to write this book

One of The Best Books for the Cancer Journey

How You Can Really Make a Difference in Helping a Loved-One with Cancer

7-10-18 Irvine, California

“Within two months, my dad and new young wife were both diagnosed with stage four cancer. My wife was only given 4-6 months to live. I didn’t even know what cancer was, except that it was really bad. I didn’t know what to do or say. The world fell out from below me and the future went black.”

When someone you love gets diagnosed with cancer, what do you say? What do you do? What do you NOT do? These questions and many others are answered in a new book: HELP! Someone I Love Has Cancer: How You Can Really Make a Difference. The answers come from a young couple who are in the trenches and valleys of fighting cancer and learning to love through it.

In 2014, Joel and Rebekah were married. Seven months later, Joel’s dad was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer. Two months later, at the age of 26, Rebekah was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. One chapter of life closed and a new chapter opened. Their cancer journey began.

They are now three years into the journey. Along the way, many people have come alongside to help: family, friends, strangers, and some out of the woodworks. Many are helpful. Joel calls them “Cancer Angels”.  Others try to help but end up doing just the opposite. Joel calls these folk “Well-Intentioned Dragons”. The book is clothed with many stories of encounters with these “dragons”. This book will help you become a Cancer Angel and, hopefully, not be one of the dragons.

“Most of the dragons think they are helping and have no idea that they are actually causing harm. I wrote this book to inspire people with our story, to help people learn what cancer is, and show people how to really help a friend or loved one walking the cancer journey.”

The book will be available on Amazon on 7-10-18. He is also giving it away FREE for a limited time here: http://www.cancercaretakerbook.com

Joel Hughes is a husband and father. He is also the author of In Your Corner (coming soon), co-producer of the movie A Brave Hope (coming soon), and director of Rebekah’s Hope. He holds degrees in Christian ministry and philosophy. Joel lives in Southern California with Rebekah and his two kids.

Contact Joel at: joelhughes63@gmail.com

contact@rebekahshope.org

 

www.cancercaretakerbook.com

10 Powerful Tips to Overcome Negative Thoughts

I thought I would share some positive vibes this week by sharing a guest post from Lisa Griffin.   Learn more about Lisa’s work here:   https://customwriting.com/

Negative emotions are like a film that can fill you with anxiety and solitude throughout your life. In simple words, such adversity could make you the loser of your being. The Proverbs 4:23 from the Bible says, ‘Be careful what you think because your thoughts run your life.’ You have to cultivate your mind to think about what you wish to achieve and prevent any idea about what you don’t want.

Generally, I try to stay positive, inspirational and informative. On the contrary, I had millions of causes to turn my living into a real disaster by swamping my mind with weak beliefs.  In this article I will examine several methods and techniques for avoiding bad cognition and will try to find the best ways to think positive in order to keep your head above the water.


1. Feel your ‘Zen.’ It was proven by all scientists that meditation is the leading remedy to almost every mental issue. If you suffer from inimical feelings, self-examination has the best outcome. Close your eyes and try to focus on a visionary source of light; it’s much easier than you think.

2. Get in touch with cheerful people. When you notice that you are stuck in a gloomy circle, try to communicate more with bright and lively humans. They manage to show you things for the other side as they don’t face such adversity as you do.

3.  Laugh as much as you can.  Whenever you are overpowered by pessimistic emotions, leave all behind and start laughing hitting on all cylinders! Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but this is the secret of amusing therapy and how to overcome negativity in a second.

4. Leave your comfort zone by being active. Without any fear and numbers of reasons just make the first step regarding training, and it takes you on a joyful adventure. Even five minutes a day would make a great difference. A perfect solution is to commit a weekly program where you have the same activity the whole week and then change the scheme. Your brain likes a variety of choices, and such modification is capable of helping.

5. Conversation for two: nature and you. Being out in nature magnifies the spirits. Make a break and to take a gulp of fresh air by entering the wood or some wilderness location with tall trees and lush greenery at the foot. Go for a bike ride or grab a pack for a camping and unite with the landscape countryside.

6. Affirmative reading – positive thinking. I am up to take a leap on a hunch that every morning you ask yourself how to stop bad thoughts in your head. There are days when you wake up and already feel bad. In such days, there is no desire to leave the bed and do something. In order to prevent avoid such situations, take a pen, write on a post-in-note any affirmative quote and put it near your bed, on the fridge door, on the mirror or on your computer. Read it as soon as you are awake, and you will be surprised at how much it will inspire you.

7. Encourage yourself for little triumph. Celebrate those moments in with friends and family. Cultivate and admire your being by perceiving vigorous.

8. Evoke happy occasions.  Every time you endure a miserable reflection, bethink about your joyous hours, and in a minute, you will notice a smile on your face.

9. Next step to stop deprecation – let it go.  If it doesn’t suit you, leave it all behind. Do not let yourself to overpower with that awareness. Though, it is not a crime to flounder a little inside your feelings and releases them.

10. Post about it, write it on the social networks. Once you do this, you commit to receive a powerful feedback of support from the social media communities. I am so grateful for all words, which boost my confidence and overcome those unfavorable thoughts.

Thanks, Lisa, for sharing your positive thoughts and vibes with Perks of Cancer.  Namaste!  Flo

Bio:  Lisa is a famous blogger, educator, and just a smart girl, whose motto is: ‘Do not be afraid to get creative and experiment with your life and work.’ She works for https://customwriting.com/with millions of graduates all over the world by helping them to cope with a diversity of university documentation. She writes fantastic articles of encouraging the humanity, how to move forward and never give up in despair. Lisa’s post ‘7-Step Plan for How to Start a Mobile Food Truck Business’ is a real helper for all food lovers and food makers and how to turn a hobby into a prosperous business.